MORNING RUSH: news, weather, sport, traffic & online buzz

8.30am That's it from us this morning. I'm going to wrap up a little early today. See you tomorrow for the TGIF edition of the Rush!

8.28am So there's some construction work going on outside our office. And it's loud. Very loud. Mind-numbing, if you will. Does anyone have any tips to block this dreadful noise out? I don't want to cut my ears off but...

8.26am A little Thursday funny for you - teeheehee.

8.24am Anyone who loves their dog enough to pop him in PJs and tuck him into bed deserves a medal.

8.22am LOCAL NEWS: A Wollongong woman who used a gun to rob a convenience store later claimed to police the weapon was a toy replica, a court has heard.

-Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the full report here.

8.20am Wanna dress like a celeb? Check out this gallery of celebs dressing down, taken right off the world's streets.

8.18am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Thousands of North Koreans have enjoyed 4D cinema - they've been thrown around in their chairs to experience shark-infested waters and the like.

8.16am May 28 marks the first game of the 2014 State of Origin series. Want to win tickets to game two? We’re running a comp - just submit your favourite Origin memory (in 25 words or less!) from May 24 and you’ll have a chance to win tix for you & three mates to head off to game two on June 17.

8.14am NATIONAL: The state government has taken scant action to reverse an alarming literacy gap between Aboriginal and other students, despite a performance audit two years ago finding its efforts were inadequate.

8.12am MUSIC NEWS: Tickets for Lily Allen's Splendour in the Grass side show go on-sale on Monday from 9am. Get in quick!

8.10am This is a picture of an alpaca surfing in Peru. Need I say more?

8.08am LOCAL SPORT: Brett and Josh Morris have done it all in rugby league, winning premierships and representing state and country. Next month the twinkled-toed twins should add another feather to their caps when the Kiama Knights Rugby League Club reveals its greatest team of the past 100 years.

8.06am BREAKING: A man who allegedly arranged an illegal marriage between his 12-year-old daughter and a 26-year-old man gave his daughter advice not to use contraceptives.

8.04am Haha oh I love this!

8.02am PM Tony Abbott says he can’t guarantee university fees won’t double because of his government’s deregulation of the sector. But he can say they won’t have to pay a cent up front. A day after student protests against changes that allow universities to charge higher tuition fees, Mr Abbott could not assuage fears they may double as a result. (AAP)

7.58am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Lea Michele has revealed that she dated Glee co-star Matthew Morrison aka Mr Shue, years before the series aired! OOoo.

7.56am POLITICS: The Abbott government is rejecting claims that asylum seekers in Nauru have been told their future could be in Cambodia. A number of family groups at the Nauru detention centre have reportedly been told they will be sent to Cambodia if they're found to be genuine refugees. But a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has denied those claims. (SMH)

7.54am TV NEWS: The ever-funny Jimmy Fallon is patenting 'nip-syncing' - it has to be seen to be believed.


7.52am LOCAL NEWS: Ben Tillman wants to help get bands out of Wollongong. The driving force behind music agency Yours & Owls, Mr Tillman will next week launch the F/O record label, the latest project of the Farmer and The Owl collaboration with Jeb Taylor, of record store Music Farmers

7.50am MOVIE NEWS: Woody Allen has a new movie out - looks pretty cool!

7.48am A study has shown that men think women do not reach the top in their professions because they lack ambition.

7.46am LOCAL SPORT: Last year's grand final combatants Collegians and Helensburgh dominate the Illawarra Division squad with the fierce rivals providing 10 players to the 17-man squad announced today.

7.45am A little bit of Wollongong history this morning - check out this pic of Flinders St in the 1940s. Looks pretty similiar to now!

7.44am This video of a Mumma bear rescuing her baby from a busy highway is SO cute - I can't bear it. Lol!

7.42am Ha! I love this - I can completely relate, I do some of my best brain-storming in the shower.

7.41am WORLD NEWS: A landmine dislodged by devastating floods in the Balkans exploded in Bosnia, officials said yesterday, hurting no one but highlighting the dangers of a huge clean-up operation as governments began counting the costs.

7.40am LOCAL NEWS: Yes, it's hot, and it will get hotter. Just as the autumn chill was supposed to be biting, Wollongong has joined many parts of NSW in stringing together a record number of unseasonably hot days.

7.39am And my computer just died. Died. A sad little face came up and it shut down. Oh dear.

7.30am My computer is being slow. Any suggestions?

7.28am OOPS: The chairman of a Sydney design college has insisted he had no part in awarding a prestigious scholarship to Frances Abbott, the daughter of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but conceded he "probably" mentioned she would be a good candidate for it.

7.26am BREAKING: Sydney is blanketed in smoke this morning after a hazard reduction burn overnight. It is expected to clear through the day.

7.24am MUSIC NEWS: Kate Miller-Heidke is coming to Wollongong! She's performing at the IPAC - pre-sale tickets are now available.

7.22am LOCAL NEWS: Just days after the NSW government handed over 38 staff parking spaces to the public at Wollongong station, Noreen Hay wants them returned.

-Here's the full story from Glen Humphries.

7.20am TV NEWS: Channel Nine’s new dating show When Love Comes To Town made a weak debut on Tuesday night, scraping into ninth place with just 868,000 metropolitan viewers. Seems love doesn't come to inner cities viewers :(

7.17am Have you seen our new page 2? It's choc-ful of news, weather, police briefs & everything you need to know without reading through the whole paper.

7.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: How cute is Zoe Foster & Hamish Blake's little boy Sonny? Adorable.

7.12am LOCAL NEWS: When Wollongong's Jake Holman was bullied as a teenager, he vented his frustrations by creating a comic series. The 24-year-old has submitted a cartoon to the Mercury's competition. Get in quick - the comp closes Sunday! There's great prizes to be won. Check out Jake's cartoon here.

7.10am MOVIE NEWS: Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt are set to team up again on the big screen! But don't expect Mr & Mrs Smith 2 - apparently their new project is "raw and experimental".

7.08am NATIONAL: David Gonski has urged the Abbott government to reverse its decision to scrap the school funding reforms associated with his name, claiming "the concept of aspiration ends in 2017".

7.06am Feel like a bite tonight? Harbourfront's new Level One restaurant has $10 tapas & $10 cocktails. Yum!

7.05am TRAFFIC ALERT - Kogarah: all northbound lanes have re-opened on the Princes Highway after that earlier accident at Regent Street. Traffic remains heavy and drivers should expect delay.

7.04am LOCAL NEWS: Another search for a new operator to take on The Links Shell Cove hotel and golf course lease will begin this week.

-Alex Arnold has the full report.

7.02am MOVIE NEWS: Pitch Perfect 2 has started filming - can't wait to see it!

6.58am Good morning! If you're just tuning in, we're in for a sunny day with a top of 25 degrees. All is fine for the drive around town but an accident @ Kogarah is causing major problems on the Princes Hwy. All is sweet on the trains.

6.56am Vivid Sydney kicks off on Friday night - definitely head up there to see the gorgeous lights, it's not to be missed!

6.54am TV NEWS: If you missed this yesterday, it was an absolute bloodbath at Channel 10 - 150 jobs were slashed, three news bulletins were axed, along with the long-flailing breakfast show Wake Up.

6.52am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Love high heels? You might not love these - introducing the "Lawdy" 7.75 inch platform sandals. My back hurts just looking at them!

6.50am SPORT: The Roosters have won their latest battle against rivals South Sydney by snaring troubled star Blake Ferguson. Injury, coupled with an NRL deregistration which still stands, will prevent Ferguson from making his Roosters debut until round one 2015, at the earliest. (SMH)

6.48am A little Thursday funny for you - does anyone else think this would be a worthy investment?

6.47am TRAFFIC ALERT - Kogarah: motorists travelling northbound on the Princes Highway are facing significant delays due to a car and motorcycle accident near Regent Street. Two of three northbound lanes are closed.

6.46am WORLD NEWS: Bulls have gored three matadors during a bull fight in Madrid, horrifying spectators.

6.44am Have you seen our new Game On column on a Saturday? It’s choc-ful of analysis, opinion pieces and the top five NRL games of the week. Check it out.

6.42am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Victoria & David Beckham's 15-year-old son Brooklyn is set to start working as a barista in a London coffee shop.

6.40am BREAKING: Commuters travelling on the Monash Freeway in Melbourne have been warned about MAJOR delays after a man told police he had a bomb in his truck.

6.38am TIARA ALERT: Prince George met his baby cousin Mia recently - and he threw food at her. Not very Princely behaviour. We'll forgive him - he's too cute to be mad at.

6.36am NATIONAL NEWS: Thousands of students protesting about cuts to higher education were involved in a stand-off with police on George Street in Sydney yesterday. The protest led to two arrests and caused traffic delays, blocking a north-bound lane on George Street. In Melbourne, police were forcibly removing students from outside Parliament House.

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: A Wollongong magistrate has jailed a man over a violent, unprovoked assault on his girlfriend that left her with deep bruises.

-Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the full story here.

6.32am Love snorkelling but really struggle with that whole breathing underwater thing? Well, we present to you the Tribod Easybreathe - it's a full-face snorkelling mask. Ooo.

6.30am WORLD NEWS: The US has deployed about 80 military personnel to Chad as part of its effort to help find and return more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram. (SMH)

6.29am MUSIC NEWS: The Eagles are set to tour Australia in February 2015. And they've promised a three-hour long show. Doing the Eagle Rock!

6.28am And in other sport news this morning, the Socceroos have been tipped to come last in the World Cup. Aw, that's a bit harsh!

6.26am LOCAL SPORT: The Dragons are investigating the possibility of signing Canberra prop Tom Learoyd-Lahrs before the June 30 mid-season transfer deadline.

6.24am OOPS: French rail operater SNCF ordered hundreds of new trains for its lines. Yay! Well, not so much - the trains are all too wide for the tracks.

6.23am NATIONAL NEWS: The poorest 20 per cent of Australian families will pay $1.1 billion more into government coffers than the richest households as a result of the budget, highlighting the huge inequity in the government's four-year blueprint for fiscal repair. Read more here.

6.22am ​CELEB GOSS ALERT: Rachel Bilson is pregnant! Her and partner Hayden Christianson are set to have a bubba. That will be one good-looking kid!

6.18am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with the latest from the Rush.

6.17am We've launched a campaign to keep Bulli rapist Terry John Williamson under supervision for the rest of his life. Sign the petitionhere.

6.16am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A US reality TV show has been launched, tricking participants into thinking they're competing for Prince Harry's heart. Oh dear.

6.15am LOCAL NEWS: BlueScope is investing in new equipment to improve the quality and consistency of its core product produced at Port Kembla - hot rolled steel coil.

6.14am Proving dogs can wear anything - here is dog in tails & a top hat. Awwwww.

6.12am SPORT: Former world No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy has broken off his engagement and split with Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki only days after sending out the wedding invitations. (SMH)

6.11am eBay users have been warned to change their passwords after online databases were infiltrated by hackers. 128 million users have been affected. Ouch!

6.10am WORLD NEWS: Tonya Lee has admitted she was wrong in her recollection of a sexual assault by Rolf Harris. But she insisted she only got the date wrong, not details of the assault itself. Get the latest on the case here. 

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: The Kardashian/Kanye wedding is just three days away and set-up has started in the huge old fort in Florence. Cost of fort: $400,000 to hire.

6.06am And in national news:

*The PM has raised the prospect of tax cuts after the next election (The Australian)

*Domestic fliers are being warned to prepare for higher air fares (The Australian)

*Middle-class Australians are being priced out of universities, according to Sydney University vice-chancellor. (SMH)

*The Human Rights Commission has lashed the federal government for axing the role of disability discrimination commissioner. (SMH)

6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*After more than two years of intensive construction in Wollongong’s city centre, a clear picture of how GPT’s $200 million shopping centre expansion will look when complete has started to emerge. Have a sneak peek here.

*Wollongong police have launched a Facebook campaign encouraging Illawarra residents to secure their homes against thieves.

*A Mangerton home which sold for a record $3.6 million at auction has set a new benchmark for prices in the Illawarra’s hot property market.

*A proposal for a tattoo studio in Kiama has been given a green light, despite concerns from some councillors the business might attract "criminal elements".

6.02am Let's kick off the morning with the usual weather & traffic update, shall we?

WEATHER It's going to be a GORGEOUS day - sunny with a top of 25 degrees. Winter schminter! It's a bit chilly now - 11 @ Albion Park & 14 @ Bellambi - but it will heat up, I promise!

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads & for the run to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning Illawarra and happy Thursday! We are SO close to the weekend, I can almost smell it. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news, goss, buzz & what have you.


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